Health officials warn of dangerous parasite lurking in pools

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(CNN) — A health warning about swimming, a popular summer activity.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are renewing their warning of a dangerous parasite found lurking in pools.

The CDC is warning about a growing number of cases involving a dangerous parasite found in pools.

“We want to urge the public to be aware and to take measures to prevent themselves from getting sick,” Radhika Gharpure, a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service officer said.

CDC officials say illnesses linked to the so-called “crypto-parasites” rose an average of 13-percent annually between 2009 and 2017. The lead author in the CDC report says cases heat up during the summer because the parasite has one alarming quality.

“Even in a pool that’s properly chlorinated, crypto can survive at those chlorine levels. And that’s why it’s so important to keep it out of the pool rather than trying to get it out once it’s already contaminated,” Gharpure said.

The parasites cause severe stomach issues that can last as long as three weeks. Most people are infected at places like neighborhood pools when they accidentally swallow water containing human waste.

Health officials say there are key precautions you can take to avoid getting sick. The first is to rinse off before you jump in the water and keep pool-time safe and clean.

“When you are swimming don’t swallow the water that you’re swimming with. And if you have contact with animals or you’re in a child care setting make sure you wash your hands with soap and water,” Gharpure said.

The CDC says doctors are now using a more accurate test to detect the crypto-parasite. They are predicting more cases in the coming years.

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